In the field:
Xico’s been working on the farm since 1984. He's our right-hand man in the field and our left-hand man in almost everything. He's the one who knows where the pipes go, where the electrical wires go in and out. Xico mends the broken, fixes the mess. There is no one who does not “ask Xico”. Everything he knows he has learned by doing and listening. If there is anyone who makes a difference in the field, it is people like Xico, those who have always lived with their feet on the ground, both literally and figuratively. When we want an assertive opinion, we ask Xico for it. A trustworthy man.
Duarte, my eldest son, started working on the Farm right at the beginning of the project and just like me, he has done a bit of everything. Today he has a project together with his wife Madalena since June 2021. He's living in a corner of the Farm. A little corner worth getting to know. It is a project centred around the flowers they grow.
At the Farm, he is developing the first hectare of regenerative agriculture/agroforestry project. One step ahead of the organic production method we carry out today.
They say it's not easy working with family and we both know it, but what makes me feel it's worth it, is knowing that we think alike in the big decisions, the ones that have to do with values, principles and paths to follow. The rest is peanuts that we will have to manage.
Bonchu was the first Thai to arrive at the Farm. He arrived in December 2011. And is here to stay. Every year he says it's just two more, but the two have multiplied year after year. Bonchu is already the second boss, right after Xico.
As is characteristic of Asian people, he is always the same, always at the same pace, always with a smile and a thank you, no surprises, that's Bonchu. He is so good that we decided to multiply by 3.
A year later, Chaiwat arrived. The same dedication, the same commitment, the same pace.
In 2015, Prathueang, better known as Patiem
And in 2018 Pachernchok, in “Portuguese” Chô
It's a pleasure working with them.
Gourmet and Navjot arrived in 2021 just like many others came from the other side of the world, in this case from India, to work in Europe. They arrived at the Farm after being in Portugal for a while. Like all the other foreigners here, they arrived and never left.
They say that nothing in life is by chance and Helder no doubt confirms this.
He started working with us in August 2017; he is 31 years old and had never had a job, just because he is deaf. He grabbed this opportunity with all his might. Helder is a TOP worker, tireless and is now a happy man.
At the warehouse:
Mena has been at the Farm since 1997. Little did she know when she came here that one day, she would be a professional at making boxes. She's been here since box number one, how many times hasn't she said to me "- We're not going to be able to do any more" many days thinking we were at our limit... and we have learned together that limits can always be adjusted.
With the help of new facilities, new procedures and more and more know-how even she is amazed at how many boxes we manage to make every week after all.
In 2015 Mr. João came to do an IEFP internship at the Farm. It was a month to inventory, clean, tidy up all the tools. It went very well, and he was invited to stay. With a knack for almost everything, it was by doing “almost everything” that we asked him to stay. He started in the field and ended up in the Warehouse. A living example of versatility, essential in a small business. It is very likely that he will go through further experiences.
Anabela came in August 2017 for the pear harvest, she was a good addition during the harvest period, so we decided to invite her to stay. Since that date, she has been responsible for the packaging of customised baskets. She's an excellent worker.
At the distribution:
Duarte Belo: Duarte, despite having a special status, is still a wonderful member of the team. In 2014 I set a challenge. Who wanted to set up a company and come and work with us in the distribution of boxes? Duarte responded; he liked the idea, created the company, and started. First, he took the municipality of Sintra and later the whole of the South Bank. Duarte really is spectacular. Super organised and very dedicated. He's always the first one here to load the car and the first one to leave. The funny thing is that I would have said it was very unlikely that he would have stayed here for so long. Another hasty judgement.
Pedro Rodrigues (the second Pedro to join us, therefore responsible for having to give nicknames to Pedros), started working at the Farm in May 2018. This Pedro is a rocket ship in the true sense of the word. He passes by running, leaves running, and arrives running. If there were a 100m race for box distributors we would sign Pedro up.
Eduardo started working with us in April 2017. Always helpful, good humoured and very polite. He's one of our delivery boys. We have no doubt that he only helps to increase the praise our customer service receives. He's a great member of the delivery team.
Hugo arrived in 2021, after years of working in customer service in a shop; he came to replace Marcelo (our trooper). If at first, he seemed a bit lost, today he is already well integrated. Like all my colleagues, I have no doubt that he is an excellent representative of the Farm when he knocks on customers' doors.
Hugo is also an integral part of the Saturday Market team at Príncipe Real.
At the office_
Bruna came to work for the office in February 2014. She is the one who receives orders from customers, processes them, orders from suppliers and bills them, box by box. Bruna is our “Thai” in the office. Always at the same pace, always available, always with a smile, always patient. Bruna never changes her tone of voice, even in the middle of a holocaust, always paused, calm, and serene. (She says she has changed, that she complains more... I haven't noticed it yet).
She conveys confidence and tranquillity. I know Bruna never stops doing her job. What amazes me most (and I don't think I've ever told her this) is that in all these years, with several thousand invoices issued she must not have made more than 10 mistakes.
At the restaurant:
Tomás started working with us in March 2018. He joined as the third member of a team. I remember thinking he wouldn't stay for long. How hasty judgments are deceiving. Not only has he stayed, but he has weathered several changes and is now number one. Meanwhile he went from being a “normal” food cook like he says, to being a great vegetable cook. Funny how a while ago he was telling me that he likes cooking vegetables more than meat. Tomás is the Thai of the kitchen, always at his pace, the storm passes and Tomás remains unaffected. Constant, compliant. "He doesn't like the limelight and sometimes lacks a little extra enthusiasm." That sentence was right two years ago. Today Tomás is not only the Chef but also runs the Restaurant together with Carlota. And you know what? The enthusiasm has increased fivefold and he's already starting to enjoy "showing up" to the public.
Naymul started in 2019 in the scullery. We had to start by learning to communicate. He has grown and learned a lot, and today he is Tomás' right-hand man. Perhaps the only handicap to be able to become autonomous is the fact that he still doesn't speak Portuguese well.
The “Extras” is what we call everyone that waitresses at the restaurant in the weekends or when there is an event. These are students or people that work other jobs during the week. They are our salvation on the weekends when “everyone” comes to visit our farm. They are Bárbara, Catarina, Xana, Beatriz and Carlos.
In the Production kitchen
Piedade is Xico's wife, and she has been working at the Farm since December 2018. We already knew each other, of course, but I never imagined her to be so assertive. I like people like that, who complain when the conditions for them to do a good job are not in line with what they need. Piedade came to work as a second member, but quickly took the lead. She's among the members of the team that make it happen.
Carmo started in 2020 as the second member of the kitchen. Another super hard worker. Together with Piedade, they make a super team. So good that it has been difficult to find the right people to work with them.
Svetlana had this gift, started in 2020 and managed to be approved by both. Which is a very good sign. She's also a great worker. Otherwise she wouldn't be around for long.
At the markets:
On Saturdays you can find these lovely college students at our market booth. I am so proud of these ‘kids’ that study all week and on Saturdays commit to waking up at 6am and go set up our market booths in Campo Pequeno, Principe Real and Cascais. In rain, in the sunshine or even during a storm, there they are.
Yesterday’s ones might not be the same as today’s, they graduate, start working and move on. Tomorrow they may all change again, but all with the same will to do the very best they can. Today they are Catarina, Vera, Gonçalo, Leonor, Daniel and Maria.
A little bit everywhere:
It’s me, Luisa! One day I had an idea, from the idea came a project, from the project came a business, and from that business a life is booming. And this idea, this project, this business will one day have a life of its own, and just like my children, it won’t depend on me anymore.
On that day I’ll have another idea…
I have to confess that each time I’m asked to update “our team” I get a little more scared. Never in my life I would’ve thought that there would be so many people working on this project. It makes me happy to think that we have been able to come this far, but it’s also scary. However, I also know that we are not done yet
My children who have been here since they were born, who have all been part of this team in some way and who are still part of this house. They saw, not with the greatest of pleasures, their house invaded. Their space made public. Yes, I know it's not easy, but what makes me think it was really worth is that if it hadn't been that way, this would probably already be someone else's home.
That helped by being there when it was most needed, and who were and are so important in the evolution of this Farm. With ‘hard’ work, with enthusiasm or with investment. Lena, Leonor, Teresa, Manela each have a little bit of them here.
Thank you to all those who give and/or have given their best here.